East Ridge senior defensive end Marco Cavallaro and his family is suing the Minnesota State High School League after he was suspended four games for a hit on a quarterback that was flagged for a penalty.
The play happened during East Ridge's regular season finale on Oct. 17, when Centennial's quarterback threw an interception. As the player who intercepted the pass began to return it in the other direction, Cavallaro delivers a crushing blindside block on the quarterback.
Here's video of the hit.
The officials called a targeting penalty on Cavallaro and ejected him from the game.
Typically, a targeting penalty coupled with an ejection results in a one-game suspension. But as WCCO points out, a previous suspension on Cavallaro this season allowed the MSHSL to increase the ban to four games.
"I have been suspended for 4 games due to a hit I delivered vs Centennial," Cavallaro wrote on his Twitter account Oct. 23. "My family and I are fighting this call and we have hired an attorney."
The family took the unusual step of launching online fundraiser via GoFundMe, which has raised $800 over seven days that will go towards attorney fees.
On the fundraiser page, Cavallaro's mother, Amanda Cavallaro, wrote that her "son was ejected from the football game due to a bad call on the field," which she says essentially ends his high school football career.
"We are fighting this decision through the courts because this is the only way to do so, since the MSHSL refuses to legislate themselves or their officials. Everyone makes mistakes officials included, and there is NO appeal system and there can be no overturning of a decision made by them, even if it is wrong as in my son's case," she wrote.
In a letter to the MSHSL, the Cavallaros argued that their son's block on the opposing player was legal, because the player was pursuing the East Ridge player who intercepted the pass. They also argue it's legal as their son led with his shoulder and hit the quarterback in the chest.
MSHSL rules define targeting as "illegal helmet contact," "butt blocking," "face tackling," "spearing" or an "act by any player who takes aim and initiates contact against an opponent above the shoulders with the helmet, forearm, hand, fist, elbow, or shoulders."
East Ridge plays Friday in a playoff game against Eastview, with the winner advancing to the Class 6A tournament quarterfinals.